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The creator economy has become a key part of every major brand’s marketing mix. Influencer marketing is now estimated to be worth $16.4 billion, with more and more brands allocating a significant portion of their advertising budget to creator brand deals. It’s a vibrant space led by diverse content creators, reshaping how brands communicate with their audience.
Influencer marketing may have once been seen as a passing trend, but today, it’s an essential channel for businesses to connect authentically with their customers. We recently surveyed over 6,000 creators about their expectations for working with brands. The survey revealed that 91% of creatives look forward to increasing their income and exposure through brand collaborations in 2024.
From leveraging the unique talents of creators to crafting campaigns that resonate deeply with your audience, this post will give you the tools to create successful collaborations in this ever-evolving landscape.
This year, the digital marketing landscape is set for a transformative shift where the boundaries between brands and creators blur. Brands are increasingly adopting the innovative, personal, and authentic approaches typical of individual creators. Meanwhile, creators are evolving into savvy marketers, understanding the power of branding and the strategic nuances of promoting their content. This creates a dynamic new ecosystem where storytelling, creativity, and marketing strategy merge, offering exciting opportunities for brands and creators alike to redefine engagement and success in the digital realm.
In Artlist Trend Report 2024, Amir Ariely, Global Creative Director & Head of Product Innovation Creative Works, Google said – “Creativity is no longer the domain of a select few. With the tools and resources now available to everyone, anyone can create and share their ideas with the world. The democratization of creativity is leading to an explosion of new and innovative content, from art and music to video and writing.”
Artlist’s Partnerships Team Lead, Dikla Bengio, recently spoke at two conferences about influencer marketing and has 3 key takeaways for brands looking to work with creators.
Part 1: The brand’s perspective
Takeaway 1: How to identify the right creators for your brand
Creator collaborations can be a compelling way to connect with your audience. However, if you work with a creator that doesn’t align with your brand or isn’t relevant to your target audience, the return on investment will be low. As part of your research into potential partners, look beyond the number of followers and instead focus on how the creator’s values, content style, and audience demographics align with your brand.
Whether you’re looking to create a brand partnership or promote user-generated content, there are several elements to consider when choosing a creative partner:
- Creator’s values
- Creator’s content style and quality
- Do the brand and audience demographics align?
- Creator’s following and engagement
Example of a successful brand partnership:
Artlist is a creative technology company designed for creators, by creators, so when we approach influencers for innovative brand partnerships, they have to exist and create within that ecosystem.
We recently partnered with Alfredo Barroso, one of the most respected underwater cinematographers in the world. We chose to create with him because his spirit of creativity, attention to detail, and work quality align with our brand. Additionally, our audience are creators themselves and can connect with Alfredo’s story and artistic approach. This meant that the partnership was authentic to our brand and added value to our audience.
There are many examples of successful brand partnerships. However, consumers are becoming increasingly aware and skeptical of marketing tactics. We cannot stress enough the importance of authenticity when choosing a creative partner. In years gone by, brands would simply pick the top celebrity and ask them to push their product. Nowadays, consumers are much more savvy, and it simply won’t fly.
Artlist recently surveyed top business leaders and over 7,000 creators to uncover the trends your business needs to know in 2024. The survey revealed that Gen Z is at the forefront of this scrutiny, demanding even more tailored and genuine experiences. They prioritize individuality and prefer to engage with content that aligns with their interests rather than conforming to mainstream trends.
A creator who shares a genuine connection with your brand will naturally create more authentic, engaging content, leading to deeper audience connections and a more impactful campaign or long-term partnership.
Takeaway 2: Invest in nano and micro-creators
In the already saturated world of influencer marketing, authenticity and strategic targeting are vital for success. Big celebrity campaigns have always been associated with big reach and big success. Today, there’s also value in collaborating with micro/nano influencers, who typically have 1,000-100,000 engaged and loyal followers.
One example is Artlist’s collaboration with London-based creator Teja Lisjak. We first discovered Teja when she tagged us in one of her videos. We loved her style, and even though she is still an emerging creator, we immediately realized her talent. We could tell she has loyal followers and is an authentic brand fit for Artlist. Our hunch turned out to be correct, and her video is our best-performing UGC collaboration to date, bringing a sizable amount of traffic and conversions.
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Working with nano-creators to produce user-generated content is an effective and scalable way to get results. It’s one of the strongest tools to build and maintain brand awareness, diversify your reach, and foster a community. We see this firsthand at Artlist, where creator collaborations and UGC content are a main part of our social media content strategy. Roy Mayer, Social Media Lead at Artlist, says:
“Partnering with creators has allowed us to create more content and deliver bigger impact. We see this both in ‘soft’ metrics, such as our channel growth and brand sentiment, as well as in hard data. UGC was one of our main traffic sources this year from organic social media activity. It also allowed us to respond quickly to marketing needs, creating an organic content envelope to assist with more performance-oriented efforts. We’ve experienced higher-impact marketing campaigns on all fronts and acquired more traffic and sales.”
We’ve also implemented effective awareness campaigns on social media by boosting authentic UGC content with paid support. Other brands, such as Hopper, have also used this approach to create a scalable and effective content creation model on TikTok.
Working regularly with niche UGC creators is a surefire way to have more output than just creating content in-house. It’s a true force multiplier. These influencers have an impact that extends beyond numbers, striking a chord of authenticity and trust that more prominent influencers might not achieve. Their dedicated following helps your brand connect with a more targeted demographic, making each campaign more relevant. Partnering with micro-influencers is also cost-effective and diversifies your marketing strategy, giving you a better overall return on investment.
Maayan Sarig, Head of Communications and Partnerships at Meta IL, echoed this sentiment in the Artlist Trend Report 2024. She said, “Creators have hacked an authentic, creative, and empathetic way to connect with followers and are considered to be more reliable than the brand itself when engaging with branded content — 65% of people who follow creators state this opinion in a recent survey by Meta.”
Takeaway 3: Create 360° holistic partnerships
When working with creators, it’s best to think beyond one-off campaigns and plan how to work with them more holistically or in the long term. An example of how Artlist has done this successfully is through our ongoing partnership with creator Sam Newton. We’ve collaborated to create social media content. Sam has hosted competitions, spoken at events, appeared in advertising campaigns, and more.
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A deeper, more integrated relationship benefits both your brand and the creator, as you can develop a mutual understanding and create content that speaks better to the brand and the creator’s audience. This type of continued collaboration and growth allows for a more organic integration of a brand’s offering into the creator’s content, ultimately resulting in a more impactful and sustainable relationship. It’s a win-win-win.
Collaboration is key to success when working with creators for any campaign, be it ongoing or one-off. You need to strike a balance between your brand’s objectives and the creator’s unique vision. The spirit of collaboration needs to be at the heart of everything you do together. We suggest following these steps to create a smooth working relationship:
1. Open and clear communication
Discuss expectations, objectives, creative freedom, timelines, and deliverables from the outset. It’s also essential to have regular feedback sessions and open two-way communication throughout the process.
2. Get to know each other
The whole process and the results will always be better if the brand and the creator take the time to get to know each other. Share information about working styles, audience, and creative vision and see if it’s a good fit before starting the project.
3. Be fair and respectful
Creators deserve fair compensation for their time and effort, and brands deserve to receive high-quality content on time. Ensure you’ve sorted out all the compensation, timing, and expected deliverables in a detailed brief and legal contract.
4. Build long-term relationships
Instead of viewing collaborations as one-off transactions, brands and collaborators should look at how they can continue to work together in the future. This continuity benefits the brand and creator and helps the audience see a familiar face or content style.
Part 2: The creator’s perspective
Peter McKinnon: Videos that are fun to make are fun to watch
Peter McKinnon is a world-renowned creator and long-term partner of Artlist. He recently spoke at AdSummit about how brands and creators should collaborate.
Peter believes the journey begins with understanding the brand’s core values and unique selling points. It’s not just about showcasing a product or service but about weaving a story that resonates with both you as a creator and your audience.
To make your audience see what you see in the brand, it’s crucial to translate the brand’s message into a visual and narrative language that speaks to your audience’s interests and emotions. This involves using your unique voice and creative approach to highlight the brand’s strengths in a genuine and engaging way. For example, if you’re known for your dynamic cinematography, use that skill to bring the brand’s message to life in a visually stunning way.
Infusing yourself into the brand means letting your personality shine through every frame and script line. It’s about being transparent about your passion for the product or service and why it aligns with your values and lifestyle. This authenticity is what makes a piece of content memorable and compelling. Ultimately, it’s a blend of creative storytelling, personal flair, and a deep understanding of the brand that results in a video that’s not just an ad but a piece of engaging content that viewers will remember and talk about.
The creators have spoken
We recently surveyed over 6,000 creators about their expectations for working with brands. Here’s what we found:
The survey uncovered that creatives want these partnerships to be authentic and accountable. A massive 62% of respondents would like to be informed about how their content performed so that they can learn and improve the performance of their content. When asked about partnering with brands, 37% want to work with brands that align with their personal values, while just 12% only want to prioritize working with well-known brands.
When it comes to exclusive brand partnerships, the survey has uncovered some interesting results. 40% of creators want to work with as many brands as possible in 2024, while only 6% want to work with only one brand. If your brand is looking for an exclusive partnership, it’s best to be clear about this expectation from the outset, and you will also need to ensure your brand compensates the creator accordingly.
When collaborating with influencers, we asked creators what brands should do differently in 2024. 37% of creators said that brands should provide more creative freedom. 36% think brands should establish long and meaningful partnerships with influencers.
There’s a world of opportunity and a lot of fun and creativity to be explored with brands and creative partners. Establishing an authentic and strong collaborative partnership is the cornerstone of any successful brand partnership. You must establish a balance between giving the creator the freedom to express their ideas and achieving your brand’s goals.
With that in mind, it’s always important to keep up to date with the latest trends and content that are relevant to your brand. Artlist Enterprise customers get their own dedicated Account Manager who can provide data-backed insights into the relevant trends and content for your brand’s audience.
Discover more about Artlist today.